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  • 1 Department of Environmental Horticulture, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Root growth of Magnolia grandiflora Hort. `St. Mary' was studied for 16 wk after an 8-wk exposure period to 30°, 34°, 38°, or 42°±0.8°C root-zone temperature (RZT) treatments applied 6 hr daily, Immediately after the RZT treatment period, total root length was similar for trees exposed to 30°, 34°, and 38°C and was reduced 45% at 42° compared to 38°C. For weeks eight and 18 of the post-treatment period, response of total root length to RZT was linear. Total root length of trees exposed to 28°C was 247% and 225% greater than those exposed to 42°C RZT at week eight and 16, respectively. Root dry weight from the 42°C RZT treatment was 29% and 48% less than 38° and 34°C RZT treatment, respectively, at week eight. By week 16, root dry weight as a function of RZT had changed such that the 42°C RZT was 43% and 47% less than 38° and 34°C RZT, respectively. Differences in root growth patterns between weeks eight and 16 suggest that trees were able to overcome the detrimental effects of the 38°C treatment whereas growth suppression by the 42°C treatment was still evident after 16 wk. Previous exposure of tree roots to supraoptimal RZT regimens may have long-term implications for suppressing growth and lengthening the establishment period of trees in the landscape,

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